About 40 million Americans, including many children, experience food insecurity. An estimated 26.5 million people in the United States live in food deserts with little fresh produce on public spaces. Urban food forests to the rescue!
These marvelous oases on community lands often have three layers of food. Fruit and nuts trees make up the overstory, shrubs like raspberries and huckleberries occupy the mid layer, and an abundance of ground food like trailing strawberries or carrots, beets, potatoes and broccoli beautify the floor.
These delectable forests also tap into to nature’s perennial nitrogen-fixers (fertilizer) like clover, lupines and others that are interspersed amongst the food plants. Raised boxes are used in some communities to grow herbs and vegetables.
Legions of volunteers help to make soil with composts and they caretake earthworm farms (vermiculture). Rainwater is collected for irrigation and some forests even keep bees. You won’t find storehouses of deleterious man-made chemicals in these splendid food forests. Citizens are encouraged to pick food freely.
Eco-hip hop recoding artist, original gardener, vegan chef, educator, food justice advocate and climate activist, Dr Ietef ‘DJ CAVEM’ Vita, teaches many children in schools and summer camps about the importance of whole food plant-based diets to help reduce global heating.
…that’s enough space for Los Angeles to grow 724,838,400 tomato plants!
He plants and juices with them. Not only does everyone have fun, but also, even more importantly, children are learning how to take their own food security into their hands.
Dr Ietef is on the frontlines transforming abandoned inner city lands into scrumptious food forests and pollinator friendly sanctuaries. He’s turning kids away from junk food, like potato chips guised up with nerve poisons from genetically engineered canola, and onto baked, organic kale chips.
Dr Ietef is giving them the abc’s of growing kale then walking them through how to create delicious nutritious affordable, vegan cuisine. After the lesson, they feast together.
There are more than 70 food forests across America and many more are cropping up each year. Every community could support food forests. There’s no reason why we should stand by and witness starving members of the human race when there’s arable land nearby.
Los Angeles leads the United States in owning vacant lots that occupy a whopping 26 miles2 (an area equivalent to 20 New York City Central Parks).
Artist, fashion designer, organic ‘guerilla’ gardener and Dr Ietef’s mentor, Ron Finley, calculated that’s enough space for Los Angeles to grow 724,838,400 tomato plants!
Teaching the Gen Zs (under 26s) how to grow food and caretake Mother Earth will help them to coexist with their kith and kin, the animals.
Dr Reese Halter is an award-winning broadcaster, distinguished conservation biologist and author.
Dr Reese Halter’s latest book is now available!